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 10 Must-Haves for Your Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan

Think of your Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan like an insurance policy. Here is our list of 10 must-haves for your BC/DR plan:


  1. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). The BIA will identify your company’s most vital systems and processes as well as the effect an outage would have on business. The greater the potential impact, the more money your company should consider spending to restore that aspect (whether a system or process) quickly. In short, A BIA helps companies set a restoration sequence to determine the order in which critical systems and processes should be restored first, second, etc.       


  1. Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for your CEO. Make sure all executives and senior staff understand the chain of command in disaster situations—this will help minimize, if not prevent, confusion in the event of a true emergency.


  1. Train additional employees to perform emergency tasks such as data recovery. The IT employees you count on to restore your data may not be immediately available in the event of an emergency.


  1. Determine crisis communication plans for top executives and senior staff. Practice crisis communication simulations with employees, customers and the outside world. If necessary, designate offsite crisis meeting places.


  1. Invest in an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down. RenovoData offers customers the ability to take their phone system to the cloud –this allows an aspect of your company’s phone network to remain functioning as calls are routed seamlessly to pre-determined end points, like cell phones, for example.


  1. Perform regular data recovery drills. The more frequently the drills are performed, the greater the percentage of data that can be quickly restored in the event of an emergency. Make sure that all employees-as well as executives-are involved in the exercises so that they get practice in responding to crisis situations.


  1. Keep it real. While you do not want to traumatize your staff, making the business continuity exercises realistic may give you important insight into how an individual may potentially react in a stressful situation.  


  1. Get to know your local first responders. Invite them to become familiar with your place of business. Perhaps hold an appreciation event or explore ways to partner and support their local outreach programs. A good working relationship with police, firefighters, etc. may become truly invaluable when a disaster strikes.


  1. Conduct regular tests of your business continuity plan. This will help reveal potential problems and help your company to accommodate changes. Without a doubt, technology, personnel and facilities are in a constant state of flux at any company. A BC/DR plan that is reviewed and updated regularly stands a better chance of being effective than a Continuity plan that is three years out of date. Also, if your company routinely experiences a “slow period” take advantage of that opportunity to put the system through its paces again.


  1. Honestly evaluate your company’s performance during each test. Recognize the good, bad and the ugly. What’s working? What isn’t? It’s common and expected that Disaster Recovery and Continuity exercises will reveal weaknesses. Once these issues are identified, they then can be proactively addressed.


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